IBM have have created an optical chip capable of shifting a terabit of data per second. The prototype, called the ‘Holey Optochip’, consists of a standard CMOS chip that has 48 tiny holes drilled into it.
Optical chips transfer data using light rather than electrons and the perforations in IBM’s ‘Holey Optochip’ permit light to travel faster than before. Another benefit of the prototype is reduced power consumption as it uses less than 5 watts to move a trillion bits. It may not be far from being commercially available either, the chip has been built using already-existing methods and materials.
IBM Optical Links Group manager Clint Schow, speaking to Ars Technica, said, “The heart of the chip is a single CMOS, plain-Jane unmodified process chip. That base chip has all the electronic circuit functions to complete the optical link. So it’s got drivers that modulate vertical cavity lasers and receiver circuits that convert photocurrent from a detector into a usable electrical signal.”
Source: Ars Technica